Saturday, March 6, 2010

So... Was I out of line? (Dinner at El Rodeo)

Out to dinner tonight with Princess and a close friend. The restaurant of choice was 'El Rodeo'; Food wise, one of the best Mexican restaurants in our area.

Tonight... the service was not so good. Food was late, drinks were late, and one dinner had to be taken back as it was the wrong dish. A mitigating factor: they were busy as hell (like I said... the food is excellent). A non-mitigating factor, they are always busy as hell on Saturday night, and just plain busy every other night. There are no surprises here.

I was willing to pass on the slower than usual service. As I said, excellent food, very busy, and no surprises here. The real issue came when it was time to pay the bill and get out. It was darn near impossible to do!

You see, they have one cashier, and she has other duties too it seems. When I got there to pay, the line was already six couples long and not moving. Soon, the line stretched half way across the restaurant, and not moving.

Looking ahead, I could see Princess Valium on the register had paused to answer the phone. It must have been a difficult call, as she could do nothing but speak on the phone. One minute... two minutes... and now the line is literally all the way across the large restaurant and not moving.

At that point, I am half pissed, and half feeling sorry for the woman at the register. She is clearly overburdened beyond reason..... right? Everyone is unfairly getting mad at this woman, while the little manager dude scurried away long ago... right? It was about then the customer in line behind me chimes in: "I don't know why she is one the phone, this place doesn't take reservations".

EXCUSE ME? They don't take reservations here?!?! Then what the hell is she doing on the phone this long??

With that, I had achieved full pissed. I put away my credit card and asked Princess for some cash (suits me right for going out without a pocket full). I abandoned the line and went in search of little manager dude. Hunting the restaurant, I finally found him just exiting the kitchen.

'HEY YOU! HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!' (in my teacher voice).

Little manager dude turned in shock and looked at me... or rather... looked up at me. He was about five foot nothing, and I am six feet plus.... and wide.... and clearly unhappy. I shoved my bill and the cash into his hand.

"I am TIRED of having my time WASTED! GET OUT THERE, GET YOUR CASHIER OFF THE PHONE, and TAKE CARE OF YOUR CUSTOMERS!!!!" (Again, in teacher voice, which doubles as a PA system).

I then turned and quietly and politely made my way out of the restaurant. Judging by the looks from those in line, I suspect my words were heard all the way to the front of the restaurant.

Oh... we didn't stiff the waitress. The tip was not as good as we usually do, but not bad either.

So... was I out of line?


Rev. Paul said...

I vote "not". If they are always busy on Saturday night, then little manager dude has no reason for inadequate staffing. IF there were last-minute "I-can't-work-I'm-sick-tonight" calls from the staff, then that info should also have been passed along to the customers.

Service: bad. Carteach0 behavior: satisfactory.

JohnMXL said...

Sounds like you handled it well to me. You didn't get angry at the staff, you didn't walk out on the check, you didn't do anything that would have brought the local constabulary.

You made your concern known to the manager, paid your bill and left.

I used to be a school bus driver. I know the voice of which you speak - I suspect it's similar to my Bus Driver voice.

Hartley said...

I'll triple that - you were right on the money. The "little manager dudes" of the world (regardless of actual size) need a wakeup call once in a while, and nothing beats a public callout.

I call that voice my "Sergeant Gardner" voice - still works, tho I don't use it often..:)


William said...

Part of what you pay for eating out is service. If the service is bad, don't tip. Contrariwise, if it's good, always tip well.

Bob said...

You did exactly what you were supposed to do, which was talk to the manager. You didn't curse him or assault him, so you did fine. If the place has a website, you might follow up with an email explaining the circumstances that made you accost him. You might get a free appetizer, entree or other "thank you" when you next return, if such things interest you.

Anonymous said...


The four of us SO need to go out to dinner.

Crucis said...

No. I've been known to walk out if the service is bad, the wait too long or the waitress surly.

I once walked out after waiting 15 minutes and hadn't even been asked for a drink order.

I'm not very patient.

Ted Amadeus said...

I don't see a problem.
It doesn't appear you waited for a reply, which is just as well because it probably would have been "No comprende."